Lab will identify outbreaks within 48 hours

Personnel will be given specific training

HYDERABAD: The advanced virology laboratory, capable of identifying viral outbreaks in twin cities and elsewhere, coming up at Sir Roland Ross Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nallakunta, is expected to be completed by coming February.

The Rs. 5 crore state-of-the-art laboratory will quell the simmering demand for a hi-tech virology laboratory, which will help identify and confirm viral outbreaks like dengue, jaundice, chikungunya, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and even bird flu within 48 hours.

In the last few years, the State has been witnessing viral outbreaks of various kinds making officials scurry either to National Institute of Virology in Pune or National Institute of Communicable Diseases in New Delhi.Even for simple confirmation tests like dengue and hepatitis, health officials approach such institutes. The existing facilities available in city only provide bacteriological analysis of samples and do not confirm presence of virus in outbreaks like jaundice or even hepatitis. The upcoming lab will be conforming to the norms of Bio-Safety Level 2 (BSL2 or P2), which means laboratory personnel would have specific training in handling pathogenic agents and are directed by competent researchers. The access to such a laboratory will be limited and extreme precautions will be taken to avert contamination. Certain procedures in which infectious materials are handled will be handled in bio-safety cabinets.“Once it gets fully operational it will be the largest such facility in Asia and far better than the facilities of NIV or NICD. Already these institutes are burdened because samples from all over the country are sent there. Most of the times we feel they are not all that accurate. We are trying to complete this project by coming February,” informed Superintendent of Fever Hospital P.P. Prasad.

Almost 80 per cent of works related to construction of the building are over while sophisticated diagnostic equipment worth Rs. 2 crore is at procurement stage. The laboratory is also expected to help conduct postgraduate courses on tropical medicine. The laboratory would have rapid diagnostics systems such as Serological and Polymerised Chain Reaction (PCR) method to provide reports within 48 hours.